TUBERCULOSIS in Bolton is on the decline as new cases of the disease in England have fallen to the lowest levels since records began.

Tuberculosis (TB) figures in Bolton have been slashed from more than 200 cases a decade ago, according to Public Health England.

The number of TB cases stood at a ten-year high of 204 from 2008 to 2010. The number has fallen steadily to 128 from 2016 to 2018 — the lowest the figure in 18 years of TB records for the borough.

Bolton's figure is still above the national average, but is following the same downward trend as the rest of the country, with new cases of the disease across England at the lowest levels since records began.

Will Welfare, Consultant in Health Protection at Public Health England North West, said: “New cases of tuberculosis in England have fallen to the lowest levels since records began.

“In Bolton, the number of cases has continued to fall in line with the rest of the country. This has been achieved through effective partnership working including the NHS, Public Health England, and Bolton Council to effectively detect and treat cases to prevent further spread."

Tuberculosis, better known as TB, is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, according to the NHS.

TB that affects the lungs is the most contagious type, but typically only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. For example, within a family who live in the same house. TB is of more concern among ethnic minority communities who are originally from countries where TB is more common. With treatment, TB can usually be cured. Most people will need a course of antibiotics, usually for six months.

Mr Welfare said: “TB is curable and not very contagious so to contract the illness, a person needs to have close and prolonged contact with a person with infectious TB. Therefore, the risk of contracting it from merely coming into contact with people in everyday life is low.

“It is important that we maintain our collective efforts to reduce the number of people with TB in the UK through increasing awareness and early diagnosis. TB is curable – early treatment reduces the chance of long term ill health and limits the spread of TB. By working together we can contribute to global efforts to eliminate TB as a public health problem."